Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Conservative Road to Recovery is Paved With Lies

Despite all the soothing words and self promotion with regards to the economy, Canada is in far worse shape than the Conservatives would have us believe.

Unemployment may be at less than double digits, but the fact is that there are far more people without jobs than Stats Canada records.

Many are living on their severance hoping that the job market will rebound. Countless others have become 'self employed', which simply means they are doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

John Baird states that his government has announced hundreds of infrastructure projects but won't say how many jobs they have created.

Jim Flaherty states
that "...responsibility for ensuring that Canada stays out of financial trouble rests with him." That should help us sleep nights. The man hasn't got anything right yet.

And then of course there's our own little head in the sand Stevie, saying don't worry be happy. I have found a magic lamp and if I rub it while watching old videos of Michael Ignatieff, all our troubles will go away.

But perhaps their biggest lie is in telling us that Canada is in better shape than anyone else. Well guess what? Even the U.S. is on a better course while we're running dead last.
August 31, 2009

Contrary to Transport Minister John Baird's claim that "we have the best financial situation of the G8 countries," (Press Conference, August 31, 2009) the United States and the rest of our traditional G7 partners are outpacing Canada's economic recovery, leaving Canadians concerned about their economic future and the country's direction.

The Facts:

Canada's economy shrunk more
in the Second Quarter compared to the First Quarter than any of our G7 partners:

Japan 0.9 % Growth
Germany 0.3 % Growth
France 0.3 % Growth
United States 0.3 % Decline
Italy 0.5 % Decline
Britain 0.8 % Decline
Canada 0.9 % Decline

There was a great opinion piece in the Calgary Sun recently, that I thought I'd share.
Calgary Sun
August 31, 2009

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says it. United States Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says it. The International Monetary fund says it. The recession is over.

But wait a minute. Germany, Japan, Australia, France and Russia may have seen their respective gross domestic products rise recently, but many economies remain weak, and growth, when it comes, will be slow at best.

A rising stock market does not a recovery make, and aren't the people declaring a recovery many of the same ones who somehow missed the extent and depth of the downturn in the first place?

Aren't they the same people who said dumb things such as "the fundamentals are strong?"

True, economists and politicians, like business leaders, investors and almost anyone who works for a living, want the economy to thrive and know that believing it is half the battle, especially when it depends on consumerism.

And while consumerism is human nature, can many individuals and businesses already have forgotten those hard recent lessons about credit and debt? And aren't many still unemployed, or headed that way?

Meanwhile, whoever came up with the technical definition of a recession -- two back-to-back quarters of negative economic growth -- failed to come up with an equal and opposite definition for a bona fide recovery.

With luck, government stimulus programs will start to pay dividends in coming months, but everyone knows a hangover is looming there also. Governments at all levels are facing either program cuts or tax hikes like never before to pay for the rescue.

So while the recession may be technically over -- for now -- we are clearly entering a new era where we cannot expect the growth of decades past, where we cannot count on double-digit returns on investment, where we cannot spend as if there's no tomorrow . . .

It doesn't sound like as much fun, but now that we have a moment to breathe, should we not start questioning an economy that depends on consumerism and look for an alternative that is more stable -- and sustainable?

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